Volleyball smashes competition, awaits tournament

By Tyler Epstein
Published: May 2010

The Boys’ Varsity Volleyball team, which has dominated in conference play this season, will not settle for anything less than a state championship this year.

A successful 2009 campaign in which the team advanced to the tournament semifinals motivated senior and captain Josh Podrid to yearn for the ultimate accolade.

“Our only goal is to win a state tournament. If we can do that, this has been a successful season, he said.

The team is working hard, practicing for several hours after school every day, on weekends, and competing in many tournaments.

“The weekend practices make a huge difference for the team. They give us a chance to work on aspects of our game that we would otherwise not work on during our daily weekday practices, junior Jeff Hodin said.

The team spends time reviewing film of its practices so that the players can fix their mechanics. This helps the squad refine and perfect its skills.

The Volleyball team suffered its sole defeat this season to a non-conference Cambridge High School Falcons squad a month ago.

Despite losing in straight sets, the team has marked the defeat as an anomaly, rebounding with an undefeated record since the match.

“We just had an off-day against Cambridge. We are capable of playing better, but all credit goes to them, Podrid said. “They played a fantastic match and just played better [than us] on that particular day.

South got its retribution last week, beating Cambridge and earning a chance to play in the Dual County League (DCL) Championship game.

The team showed its worth in the title game against Arlington, in which it won in straight sets.

The team defeated Lawrence 3-0 last Saturday, as well.

A few days prior to its game against Cambridge, the Volleyball team proved it could thrive in a playoff atmosphere, ranking second out of twenty teams in the Rhode Island Invitational Tournament.

According to Podrid, the Lions squad avoided mental errors, a product the players’ of experience and poise.

“We felt very good with how we played overall as a team, he said. “The tournament really helped our confidence because we now know we can compete with the best. Everything was clicking for us.

In addition to a solid mental performance, the Volleyball team also demonstrated its physical skills on both offense and defense.

The Lions did not leave the tournament unscathed, however, as two New Jersey high schools bested South during the day, and Podrid suffered a bad ankle sprain. The injury forced the captain to watch his team from the bench for almost half of the season.

In his absence, sophomore Brooks Remy has developed into a consistent contributor in his first varsity season.

“Brooks’ athleticism and timing really were pretty amazing. [It played a large part in] how quickly he developed into a Varsity role, Elwell said. “I’m very impressed with his physicality and I’m more impressed with his mentality, He is already way ahead most of the sophomores in the state,

While the Volleyball team has faced some adversity against non-conference foes, it has dominated its Dual County League opponents.

The Lions have trounced rival Lincoln-Sudbury (L-S) twice this year, winning the season series 2-0.

The first win over L-S resulted in a 3-2 victory.

South experienced production from multiple players in the offensive phase of the match. Three of players, junior Josh Horenstein (17), and seniors Nick Kozlov (13) and Ethan Landzberg (10), recorded double-digit kills. Both of South’s setters, senior Eugene Kirimov and junior Bryan Cheng, racked up 20 and 30 assists respectively. Hodin led the Lions with a team-high 52 receptions.

The stat sheet stuffing impressed the coach, as the team was firing on all cylinders less than a month into the season.

“It was great to watch the team rise to the occasion and play some of its best volleyball against some of the best teams in the northeast, Elwell said.

The victories against L-S this season not only have given the Volleyball team the confidence to compete with the Warriors in the state tournament, but shows that it has the potential to beat the other top volleyball programs.

“No matter who we face, we need to keep our focus, and understand that if we stay within ourselves, we can beat any team in the state, Elwell said.

While the accolades continue to accumulate for the Volleyball team, the squad has yet to achieve its ultimate accomplishment of a state title.
The Volleyball team has a first round bye in the state tournament and awaits its first opponent.

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